Tag Archives: humor

Who’s Crazy Now?

 

munchscream

“The Scream,” Edvard Munch

 

The following story has been rejected by both Analog and Asimov’s science fiction and fantasy magazines, so I’ve reverted to my most reliable publisher, myself, to give a wider audience a chance to reject it, too.  I think it’s amusing and somewhat reflective of my philosophy of life, such as it is.  If there is a target of the satire, it would be The System as it exists today, one that creates mental illness by feeding it through an interconnected web of perverse incentives.

 

 

I am a visitor from a different future.  They label me schizophrenic, not the paranoid type.  My official diagnosis in 21st century mythology, is “disorganized schizophrenia.”  In the past, this form was known as “hebephrenic,” from the Greek, meaning “youthful mind.”  In real life, it means I laugh a lot, for no apparent reason.

I have been hospitalized, this time, because I went to the emergency room on a cold rainy night and told them I wanted to kill myself.  Everyone in the ER knows me.  They ask my name anyway.  This time I say “Gunga Din.”

They write “Charlie Appleton” on their clipboards.  If they already know, why do they ask?  I play along.  I practice my postures in the hall. The ballerina pose.  The dog pose.  The boxer pose.  It makes them smile.  I talk back to my voices and laugh at their jokes.

When I laugh too loudly, they usually give me a shot of haloperidol, an anti-psychotic.  This makes my body slow but my feet restless, so I dance to music played by my friends in our shared future, music only I can hear.

If I’m lucky, they give me another shot, this time of lorazepam, a benzodiazepine and addictive relaxant, but on days Nurse Bully Bozo (not his real name) works, he substitutes diphenhydramine, a sinus and allergy medicine, for the lorazepam.  He gives himself the feel-good shot in the medical supply room.

I know this because I see it in his aura.  Where I come from, we all read auras, only we call these “energy fields.”  They are as visible to everyone as the clothes they wear. It’s impossible to keep a secret, so no one tries.  We could see through clothes, too, if we wanted, but nobody bothers. The clothes are more attractive than the flesh.

I’ve attempted to explain all this to the hospital staff, but there are no words in any Earth speech to describe unimaginable concepts, like alternate futures.  They write on their clipboards that I’m “delusional.”  It helps them sleep better at night.

When I threatened to tell Nurse Bully Bozo’s supervisor that he was giving himself the feel-good stuff, he hit me, then told everyone I’d run into a door.  I tried to tell them the gash on my temple came from his ring, but no one believed me. He has an evil-looking ring with spikes on it, but he hid it after the incident.  When I started screaming that the ring was in his pocket, they strapped me to a table for a full day to keep me safe.

I’ve quit telling people I see their secrets.  I merely laugh when the psychiatrist’s deceased mother carps at him during his interviews with me.  She is too, too funny.  She wanted him to be a surgeon, instead of a psychiatrist. She nags him and gives him no peace. “Psychiatrists aren’t real doctors,” she says.  “I knew you would never amount to anything.  Just like your good-for-nothing father.”

I almost feel sorry for him, having a mother like that.  No wonder he became a psychiatrist.  The more she harasses him, the angrier he gets.  His face gets red, his jaw sets, his knuckles holding his pen turn white, and his hand begins to quiver.  I know he can hear her, but he pretends otherwise.  I’m supposed to be the crazy one, in this past Earth I’m visiting.

“Where did I go wrong?” Dr. Gunn’s mama moans, winking at me.  I try hard not to laugh–he thinks I’m laughing at him and ups the dose of my medications.

“Do you still feel like killing yourself?” he asks.

“I’m already dead,” I reply, and laugh again.  Now his deceased father has joined his mother in his energy field, and they are arguing.  They are blaming each other for the fact that their son is a loser.  “He wouldn’t be an alcoholic if you weren’t,” his mother says.

“He might have a family by now if you hadn’t soured him on women.”

They are bickering so much that I have a hard time hearing his next question.

“Do you hear voices?”  Dr. Gunn asks.

“Everyone hears voices,” I say.  “Voices, choices, they make noises,” I chant, trying to drown out Dr. Gunn’s parents.  “I hear your voice right now.”  I dare not tell him what else I’m hearing.  His mother is mad with him because he blew his inheritance on a floozy, who ran off with his best friend.  His father holds a grudge for the time Dr. Gunn had him arrested for slugging his mother.

I hate seeing secrets nobody else sees.  If they only knew what a burden it is, to carry all that baggage.  At least Dr. Gunn is trying.  He understands how widespread these secrets are.  He knows his upbringing was pretty normal, in this past Earth’s time.

“Please, stop,” I tell his parents.  I cover my ears.  Dr. Gunn thinks these are my voices.  He’s so used to hearing his parents bicker that he doesn’t even notice anymore.  It runs in the background, like machine noise, but it drives him to drink after work.

“Stop what?” the doctor asks me.

I try to distract Dr. Gunn from his parents’ argument.  When he’s angry or hung over, he takes it out on me, the staff, and whoever is closest.  At the moment, I’m the closest, and I’ve already had enough feel-bad drugs to knock me bonkers.

“Stop de wop de boppedy bop,” I say, getting up, twirling and chanting.  Dr. Gunn’s parents stop yelling at each other and watch me.  They start to smile, so I whirl faster, then invite his mother to dance with me.  When I slip up and call her by name, Dr. G freaks out and calls security.  They haul me to a padded cell, my favorite place in the hospital.  They watch through a thick, plexi-glass window as my movements slow, and I fall down.  I drift off into my alternate future, where my friends laugh and applaud.

We gather around the instrument panel that monitors my past Earth body and discuss the effects of feel-bad psych meds on it.  We analyze the past Earth energy field and how it affects the hospital staff.  We pass the Spirits around and congratulate each other on having made the right choice in the Earth-split.

My best buddy, Henry, winces as he scrutinizes the scanning monitor and looks admiringly at me.

“They sure walloped you this time,” Henry says.

“This assignment is harder than you let on,” I reply.  “Those people are crazy.”

“That’s why you’re there.  They are suicidal, determined to annihilate the Earth and everything on it, to prove their prophets right.”

“I know, I know.  I’m supposed to prepare them for the coming Earth-split, when probable futures split off like sparks from a cherry bomb.  Different people ride into different futures, depending on their beliefs.”

“They believe in evil,” says Henry.  “At least some of them do.”

“So do I, after what Nurse Bully Bozo did to me.”

“It didn’t hurt.  You have evolved beyond pain,”

At the moment, Henry is beginning to look like Dr. Gunn, only uglier.  He sees my thought and smiles.

“You don’t feel my pain,” I reply, almost smiling, but not quite.  I have a slight crush on one of the other nurses, Nurse Bleeding Heart (not her real name).  She claims to feel my pain.  Her breasts graze my arm as she changes the bandages on my temple.  The cut, which required three stitches, isn’t healing as quickly as they want.  I gouge at the stitches when I get the chance, claiming they are worms eating through my brain.  No one has noticed I only do that on Nurse Bleeding Heart’s shift.

“I don’t feel your pleasure, either, Lover Boy,” Henry says.  “So quit whining and pass the Spirits.”  I give up the bottle, reluctantly.  It’s a great antidote for the anti-psychotic.  It allows me to communicate with my future home and future friends when I’m operating in the Earth past before the split.

We turn away from the instrument panel and sit down to a lively dinner.  I eat like I’m starving, because I am.  That past Earth food is more poisonous than the drugs, so I’ve been refusing it.  White bread.  Soda pop.  Baloney.  Limp lettuce.  Bottled dressing.  Ugh.  We discuss my work assignment for the next day.  Rather, the others talk while I eat.

In the future Earth I inhabit—when I’m not on assignment to the past—everything is free, and money doesn’t exist.  People work because they like it.  They gravitate to areas of special interest or ability naturally and slip into their niches, like so many jigsaw pieces in a puzzle.  Each is unique but integral to the whole.  There is no competition and no overlap.

My future friends voted unanimously to place me in this assignment.  I was the most evolved, they said.  I was normal enough to pass for crazy.  If I couldn’t bring the alternate future to the past, no one could.  The integrity of the Earth split depended on me.

I look suspiciously at them.  I decide they tricked me, set me up, and are having a whale of a time at my expense.  Henry sees my thought and grins.

“You are the most evolved, you know,” he says now.  “I couldn’t do what you’re doing.”

“I agree.  You’re not smart enough to play dumb.”  I know Henry has doubts about his intelligence, but I’m lonely on this assignment.

“I could use some help,” I say now.  Henry passes the Spirits back to me.  I take the bottle.

“Thanks for the uplifting Spirits,” I say, “but I’m talking about companionship.  When I’m strapped down, or in a strait jacket, I have to do therapy on myself.  ‘It really is them,’ I say.  ‘It really is them.’”

“We know,” Henry replies.  “We hear you.  We’re there for you, just not physically.”

“Don’t I know it.”  By now, the past body is waking up and I know time is short.  I must return soon, lest they decide I’m catatonic and use shock therapy to jolt me into consciousness.

“You nag all day long, all of you at the same time.  It’s enough to drive a past person crazy.  There’s so much static in my brain I’m surprised other people don’t hear it.

“They do hear it, but they pretend not to.  You push the envelope on crazy, so that they feel normal.”

I look skeptical, so Henry continues.  “We’re all very grateful to you, you know.  If you weren’t there then, we wouldn’t be here now.”

 

 

If I Were in Charge . . .

If I were in charge of things, I would have more enemies than Donald Trump.  I would discriminate against everyone equally.  I would start with the budget and eliminate deficit spending.  Last year’s revenues would be this year’s budget limit.  This would infuriate everyone except the unborn children who are expected to pay for ballooning government debt.

Under the premise that government exists to fund itself, the next obvious bugaboo is taxes.  For people to pay taxes, they either have to be bullied or conned into thinking they will get returns on their investment.  This is why there are so many government jobs, government contractors, and government programs.  “Hire the opposition” is an ancient method of reducing competition and getting cooperation.  If you can’t hire the opposition, you can compromise the competition by making laws against them or throwing them in jail.

Of course, jail costs money, but the cost of competition is higher.  If you’re a monopoly, like the US government, you claim a monopoly over all “economic narrows,” such as the money supply, and over the laws, like drug laws, so that you can create bureaucracies to enforce the laws everywhere in the world.  This is why we have wars, which cost unborn children lots of future money.  This is why we have drug cartels, too, that create enormous competition for governments, unless they buy governments and then protect each other.  This is not only about El Chapo, who just got convicted, but about Pfizer, and all the other government-sanctioned drug cartels that trade so profitably on Wall Street.

If I were in charge, then, I would quit funding wars, bring the military home, and re-write their job descriptions to do the jobs we now hire government contractors to do.  That government competes with the private sector for skilled labor is a given.  Releasing government employees from their monopolistic responsibilities would free the government from doing both its job and that of the private sector, too.  This would save unborn taxpayers lots of future money.

If I haven’t been assassinated or impeached by this point, I would issue a currency that would compete with the Federal Reserve Note.  I would allow the new currency to be used in paying taxes.  People could still use their Federal Reserve Notes to pay income and payroll taxes, which are set up to pay the Fed perpetual interest on federal debt.  If the government is no longer borrowing money to support a deficit, the Federal Reserve would become superfluous. It could collect its Federal Reserve Notes in perpetuity and cost the US government nothing.  Since the income tax pays for stupidity, many people may opt out of paying the Fed to finance government insanity.  Not to stigmatize the mentally ill.  Not all insane people are stupid, and not all stupid people are insane, but, like lawyers, there seems to be a disproportionate percentage of both in elected positions.

I would not waste money on border walls or border security.  The way to stem illegal immigration is to give the immigrants no reason cross the border.  If there were no drug laws, there would be no drug cartels, and no need for CIA, DEA, FDA, DOJ, and the international deep state financial system of commodity drug money.  All those escapees from Guatemala and Honduras could return home safely.

If I haven’t alienated everyone by now, I would make payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare optional, both for employees and employers.  This would free up today’s money for today’s needs and asset building.  As things stand, the fiat money we have now represents government debt, so the more you have, the more federal debt you have assumed.

The government knows that the best way to control people is to borrow from them or to lend to them.  If you lend something that is valueless, backed only by the “full faith and credit of the federal government,” you are counting on promises made on behalf of those unborn taxpayers to work for future money to pay a debt on nothing.  Thus all investments, except those with practical value–like a debt-free home you live in–are investments in government debt, so “Rah, rah, America,” if you want your old-age nest egg to survive in the Ponzi financial system that depends on future money to pay for present excesses.  Anyone wonder why the US dollar has lost 97% of its value since the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913?  The “full faith and credit of the United States,” isn’t worth much anymore.

If I were in charge of things, I would acknowledge that government can barely afford to be in the government-over-the people business, much less in the war business, the agriculture business, the health care business, the social-consciousness business or the business business, so I would dismantle all the government “help” and its corresponding regulation and force people to find their own answers to their own problems, without the Nanny State to tell them what to do and how to do it.

If I were in charge, then, I would make life as easy as possible for myself by divesting myself of responsibility for making decisions for everyone else.  By then everyone would probably be an enemy, but who needs friends when you have peace?

 

My Version of Hell

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St. Roscoe Rooster, 2/7/2008-12/25/2009  “May we rest in peace”

There is no better therapist than a personal journal.  A journal waits patiently, doesn’t interrupt, argue, criticize, judge, talk back, condemn, nag, or gossip.  It’s there on your terms, when you want it, and it’s essentially free.

It’s also fun and sometimes embarrassing to re-read and see how perspective changes, or how memories differ from the written version.  I’ve kept a journal on and off throughout my life.  I’ve lost some, burned some, and some were stolen.  I prefer writing by hand, as I sit with morning coffee, because there’s no urgency, no need to correct typos, and there’s something inherently satisfying about low-tech pen and paper.

Ten years ago this month, I had entered early retirement, had acquired my first batch of chickens, and was watching my stock investments fall below the value of my medical school debt.  I was considering whether an individual could secede from the United States and not be owned by any country.  I was reading a lot, as always, books, magazines and newspapers.  I was beginning to pay attention to the FDA’s periodic food scares and seeing a pattern.  I was philosophizing about how things ought to be.

Now, in 2018, my views have evolved, but not too much.  I’m more offended now than before by the path the US is taking but am resigned to it.  Ten years older, I feel the squeezing of time into fewer remaining years.  Ambition and goals seem less important.  I’ve recognized that many dreams may never come true, nor will some nightmares.  Day to day existence goes on automatic pilot, most of the time, with less to interest or inspire, but more enjoyment from unexpected events, like a sunny day after a week of clouds and rain.

Here are some entries from November, 2008:

INDEPENDENT OF COUNTRY

Sunday, November 2, 2008–I may secede from the US.  Why should I be a citizen of any country?  I’m still a taxpayer if I live here.  Does that make me illegal, if I was born five miles from where I live?

As an independent country, I am a citizen of the planet.  How’s that?  I belong to no government, and no government belongs to me.  I make up my own laws as I go along, and if I break them, nobody cares but me.  My own government is self-governance.  It costs me nothing in taxes, and it provides generous returns on my investment.

I wonder about the expectation that anyone should be a citizen of any country.  What’s the point of citizenship except to vote and pay taxes?  If I were a foreigner, I would still pay taxes, and if I owned property, I would pay property taxes, so I would be contributing to government services, such as they are.

Radical revolutionary that I am.

WORK ETHIC

Thursday, November 6, 2008—The internal nags don’t let up.  The work ethic is so heavily instilled in me that I feel worthless if I’m not accomplishing things.

I avoid the study and the computer, and the piles of written words that await me there, my own files, and books and newspapers and magazines.  So much information, much of it misleading, descriptive of a value system, and set of beliefs I don’t share.

PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

Saturday, November 8, 2008—I can’t blame anyone for the fact that I attract problems.  I’m the solution all the problems are looking for, but do the problems want to be solved?  No.  They would lose their identity as problems, because they are ego-attached to being problems.

Maybe I’m ego-attached to being a solution, but I’m letting go of that.  I worked myself out of a psychiatry job by declaring crazy normal.

I am neither solution nor problem, because both are traps.  The concept of problems and solutions is as suspect as strength and weakness.  Relative to what, I ask.  My “solutions” bring new “problems,” and my ‘weaknesses” help develop “strengths” that then become “weaknesses” in turn.

MY VERSION OF HELL

Saturday, November 8, 2008–My version of hell is having to put up with miserable people forever.  I can hear the whiners now:

“It’s your fault you’re here.  You murdered me.  You deserve to be here.”

“So why are you here?”

“It’s a mistake.  I’m appealing God’s decision.”

“God made the right decision, alright.  Why do you think I murdered you?  I did the world a favor.”

“Hell wasn’t such a bad place, until you got here.  The beer is free.”

“The beer is free?  In hell?

“Yep.  Keeps people from wanting to go to heaven.”

“Why do they call it hell?”

“Why do you think?  It costs money to get to heaven, and nobody would buy into it if they knew they could get free beer in hell.  Everything is free in hell, because everyone just takes what he wants without paying, anyway.

“But it’s so hot.”

“We drink a lot of beer and pass out so we don’t feel the heat so much.”

“Has anyone asked the Devil to turn down the heat?  It’s not energy efficient, you know.

“You could ask him, but he gets cold easily in this drafty cave, and he is thin.”

“He could put on a sweater.”

“Why should he?  He’s supposed to be torturing these people, and he’s afraid of losing his job if he doesn’t cause them enough pain.”

“That’s true in all government jobs.  So the Devil isn’t self-employed?

“Hell, no.  Who in his right mind would pay to spend eternity with the Devil?”

“How does he pay for the beer?”

“He steals it, of course.  He sends his hellions topside whenever supplies run low, and they bring back everything people have ordered, including nuclear power plants, to help keep the Devil warm.”

“Sounds like the government.”

“Government is hell.  I thought you knew that”

“Why do we have it?”

“To keep people out of heaven, of course.  Heaven was getting crowded, what with all those people resting in peace.  God ran out of bedrooms and couldn’t wake anybody up to build more, so He created hell to take the heat off Him.  He sent Lucifer down to manage things and wake people up, but he steals beer for them instead.”

 

 

 

 

It’s a Dog’s Life

bulldog

What is it about dogs?  In my long life, I have lived in too-close proximity to barking dogs, biting dogs, dogs that get in the trash cans, and dogs that poop and dig holes in the yard.  A dog killed my chicken, and another dog killed my cat.

I have been known to drive up a neighbor’s driveway at 3 a.m., blowing my horn and banging on the door until the dog owner answered.  I have yelled loud enough to be heard over the still-barking dog, which had a habit of keeping me awake for hours every night.  Those neighbors soon moved away, but in karmic retaliation, new neurotic neighbors with two barking dogs moved in.  The Yapper and the Woofer have prompted this complaint.

There are advantages to having neighbors who believe you are crazy.  Being crazy is easier than calling the police.  If I called, and police came at all, I imagine they would keep me awake even longer asking questions and filling out forms, and finally, not solving the problem.  No.  Police are worse than useless in situations like this.

From my perspective, there is nothing good about dogs, but other people like them, and they are legal, unlike my roosters.  Before I got roosters who like to crow, I was more likely to call neighbors to complain about their barking dogs.  Now, I have to play nicer, because the roosters are sort of illegal, meaning the county has decided not to enforce the anti-rooster ordinance unless neighbors object.

So, I’ve visited neighbors and asked them to let me know first if the roosters bother them.  Most don’t hear anything.  Those who do say they like the countrified sound of roosters crowing, so we are safe for now, as long as I keep the dogs away.

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Speckles crowing

My most effective dog-control strategy so far has been to bypass dog owners and develop a relationship with the dogs themselves.  When barking has continued too long, I start commiserating, telling the dogs how sorry I feel for them.  Their owners must really hate them, I yell, and I can understand why.  There is nothing good about dogs.  They are obnoxious and have no life.  I’ll bet their owners don’t feed them or give them water.  They are mean, neurotic people.  Poor dogs.

This has been known to quiet the dogs a few minutes.  Then I praise them, saying they are capable of learning something, after all.  They have at least one redeeming feature.  “Good dogs,” I say.  This gets them barking, again, but the barking doesn’t last long.

Then the roosters start crowing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe’s Nightmare

December 29, 2017–In a slight divergence from my normal posts, I’d like to present here the first five pages of my novel.  This magnum opus has been over 30 years in the writing, keeps getting shelved, evolves, and may be coming into its time.  I call it “speculative fiction,” describing visions that leap-frog over the Armageddon the sooth-sayers are so ominously predicting.

It’s About Time, Bud, Beon and the Bots, begins with “Joe’s Nightmare.”  Protagonist Joe and his doctor friend Marian are sitting at Mack’s  Bar and Grill on a busy Friday night.

I present this opening here, to WordPress friends and would-be friends, seeking correspondence of ideas and imagination.  I hope to entertain, tell a story, express a philosophy, and inspire the forces of vitality to all who are touched by it.

CHAPTER 1

JOE’S NIGHTMARE

Marian glared at Joe, but he didn’t see.  He was slouched low in the booth, staring at his beer. His faded white shirt hung loose over thin shoulders.  His brown eyes, usually bright and inquisitive, were dark, brooding, and sad as those of an old, dying dog.  His eyelids drooped, and even his large, floppy ears seemed to sag.  Marian chuckled at his woeful appearance.  Joe’s eyes didn’t move.

Her eyes followed his to the glass, then scanned the room.  Mack’s Bar and Grill was hopping, the Friday night crowd jubilant and loud.  Tiffany lamps interspersed with hanging plants sparked with bejeweled light.  The misted window beside their booth gleamed with trails of glittering raindrops outside.  Mack’s mirror collection covered the walls, giving an impression of friendly spaciousness that Marian found refreshing.

As people swarmed, eerie, surreal shadows played across Joe’s face.  Televisions with muted sound in front and back showed sports highlights.  A dank, musty smell rose with moist heat from the milling bodies.

Marian leaned back and closed her eyes, absorbing the lively mood.  Occasional bursts of laughter here and there rolled over her like waves.  A loud gruffaw from the center of the room startled her, but Joe’s eyes remained fixed on his glass.

She sat up and sipped her wine, watching her strange friend.  As narrow as a line in his personal life, Joe was a genius when it came to science.  More than a genius, he was a wizard.

But tonight even the bubbles in Joe’s beer showed more signs of life.  “Joe!” she almost, but not quite, shouted.  He jumped.  His knee hit the booth’s underside and jostled the glass, but he caught it before the first drop spilled. He held the beer and glared at her.

“Where are you?”  she asked.

“I’m here, of course,” he retorted.  “I live inside my body.”  He put finger to pulse with a flourish and closed his eyes. “My heart is slowing now,” he finally said.  “Had me worried for a minute, a minute and six seconds, to be exact. It was racing at 144 beats, after you so rudely interrupted my experiment, but it has calmed to a mere 86.”

He released his wrist and blew on the chilly glass.  “I would fog a mirror if I had one, so I appear to be breathing.  Would you like to see? I didn’t bring my blood pressure cuff, this time, but perhaps you have one in your purse.”  He chugged half the beer and thunked the glass on the table.

“What experiment?” Marian asked.

Joe gave her a disgusted look.  “I was calculating the volume of air coming out of an invisible speck.  I was counting the bubbles, of course, to multiply their spherical volume by the number.  Then, I was going to add another speck and keep track of its air volume.  From that I was going to determine how much CO2 was dissolved in my beer to see what effect it might have on global warming.  Why?”

Marian sighed.  “I wondered if something was wrong.”

“Nothing but the ruin of my experiment.”  He chugged the rest of the beer.  “Another scientific failure.  Now we may never know how we could save the world by dissolving more carbon dioxide in beer and drinking fast.”

He waved his glass high in the air, exposing a thin wrist bounded by a frayed white cuff.  A passing hand with rings on every finger swept past and escaped with glass on tray, leaving a trail of french-fry smell. When the next beer arrived, Joe slumped into bubble-counting position, his head at eye level with the glass.  His feet struggled to find room under the table.

“Quit kicking if you want me to be quiet.”

“OK,” he said.  “Sorry.”

Marian was left to her thoughts.  Marian wasn’t sure when she first noticed Joe.  Like a cloud, he had eased into her awareness, emerging as if from thin air, until one afternoon he was sitting on a barstool at Mack’s in full flesh, still and silent, his stiff brown hair forming spikes around his head, unshaved chin jutting over a coffee mug. He sipped coffee and stared at the back bar mirror, which revealed the scene behind him, of booths, mirrors, and windows lining the restaurant’s long side.

Over the ensuing weeks, Marian noticed Joe sitting on the same stool every afternoon, drinking coffee, staring into the mirror above the bar.  She liked relaxing at Mack’s, too, where she, exhausted from a long day of writing prescriptions and ministering to other people’s ailments, could let Mack alleviate suffering instead.  Most days she watched, sipping herbal tea at her favorite barstool near the cash register.  Here, she and Mack exchanged ideas on economics, as he collected low-overhead money for treating customers’ problems.

Mack’s Bar and Grill was an independent country, the front door claimed, the “State of Freedom, Democracy, and Capitalism.”  It pictured a lion with Mack’s face lapping beer out of a mug.  It declared Mack’s roar the “Loudest in the Land.”  So far, no one had challenged his independence, and the local police were some of his best citizens.

Mack claimed the lion was the ideal free market capitalist, king of the jungle, who sleeps 20 hours a day, eats two hours, and makes whoopie the remaining two.  Also, he gets his harem to do the hunting and killing for him. Mack complained that Linda, his wife, didn’t understand lion thinking.  She thought he was too fat.  “You have to work for your supper,” she told him.  As for the harem, she only smiled and shook her head.

Until the day Marian noticed Mack’s limp, she could have believed Joe knew only three words.  “Just coffee, Mack,” was all he said.

But Marian’s interest in Mack’s arthritis brought Joe out of his trance.  He jumped into their conversation and regaled them for nearly an hour on the anatomy of the knee, physiology of muscles, histology of bones, the causes of inflammation, and all the current treatments.  Marian was awed, because he was accurate in every detail, and his knowledge seemed infinite.

Who is this strange creature, she wondered.  He looks like he lives in the street.  Over time she found that his aloof manner discouraged personal questions, but Joe was always eager to discuss medicine, technology, and science.  Now Marian took his wizardry for granted and followed him from topic to topic with delight.

“How do you know so much?” she asked tonight.

Joe’s eyes didn’t waver from the glass.  “I’m a curious person,” he said.  “I read a lot.”

Suddenly, a hot dish of fried calamari landed in front of Marian.  Joe looked up.  He glared at the calamari.

Marian offered Joe a sample but knew in advance his answer.  He knew everything about squid, except the taste.  He explained its biology, physiology, anatomy, life cycle, mating habits, and preferred habitats the last time she ordered calamari.

“Fried food is bad for you,” he said now.

“That’s what they say,” Marian replied.  She dipped an offending morsel into tzaziki sauce and popped it in her mouth.  “But I believe in homeopathic doses of lard, from time to time.”

Joe’e eyes followed her hand, glanced at the TV screen, at Mack behind the bar, then looked briefly at Marian’s face before settling back on the beer. He spoke as if to the bubbles. “I had a nightmare,” he said, his voice barely audible.

Marian laughed.  “Is that why you’re so gloomy?  I thought it was something serious.

Joe ignored her.  Marian sighed.

“Is there anything I can do?” she asked.

“Shoot me,” he said.  “That might help.”

Symbols and Psychiatry

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Corn snake, kco051316

Ten years ago this month, I had just retired my medical and DEA licenses, in search of better ways to inspire people regarding the mind and its potential.  A long-time student of symbolism, I write daily in my journal and regularly include references to astrology, mythology, religion, dreams, and other symbolic languages.  These universal concepts fall loosely into Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung’s idea of a “collective unconscious” and of “archetypes.”  As most people probably know, Jung was a protege of Sigmund Freud, father of modern psychiatry, whose The Interpretation of Dreams, published in 1900, rocked the scientific world and initiated the field of psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

The following excerpts from my November, 2007 diary show how I play around with symbolism to help develop a deeper appreciation for everyday life.

ON PREDICTIONS AND FREE WILL

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 – I believe if the student fails, the teacher fails more, because the teacher is paid to teach.  The student (ideally), pays to learn.  This is why I’ve never believed in tenure and probably why I don’t believe in marriage or other chains on the future.  As an astrologer, I don’t believe in predictions either, but astrologers as a group would disown me for saying this.  They thrive on making predictions, and people expect them to do it, but no one can say that predictions are consistent with free will.

You have to be a free thinker to understand how limiting predictions are.

This moment, as I sit in my recliner on this beautiful sunny day, overlooking vast expanses of marsh and blue sky, I have access to all time, depending on my focus.  It can come as dream, memory, fantasy, association, feeling, impression, dimly or readily perceived.  A book once read is forever a part of my experience, because I have invested the personal effort to make it so.  A book once written is part of everyone’s experience, whether direct or indirect, as knowledge brought through on the verbal place is “thicker” and more physical than the more ethereal realm of imagination.  How can I know before I read a book how it will change my life?

PENELOPE AND UNDOING

Thursday, November 22, 2007 – I’m approaching my multiple goals in piecemeal fashion.  When everything seems to be at beginning stages, as now, or beyond my capabilities, I feel frustrated and at odds with myself.  Re-doing things makes me feel like Penelope, Odysseus’ wife in The Odyssey of Homer, who undid her father-in-law’s shroud every evening to avoid having to marry any of the moochers who invaded her home as soon as Odysseus stayed gone too long.

I used to think Penelope was a sap, but undoing is a matter of perception, and if you enjoy the weaving and undoing for its own sake, it is no longer a waste of time.  Here we have the clash of the results-oriented and the process-oriented approach.  Also apparent is the stated vs. actual purpose.  Penelope stated she wanted a shroud.  She actually wanted to stall for time, so the actual purpose was met.

She lived in a time when women were possessions, and we have that subversive belief still, although no one admits it.  Marriage is a testament to the people-ownership concept.  While presumably it’s a mutual ownership, no one expects men to be as faithful as women, although this is a generalization and less true than in the past.  In the great sexual shuffling of today, men and women seem equally unfaithful.

Probably few perceive the ownership attitude as clearly as I, the target of so many who want to own by any means available.  Insurance companies, government, bankers, stockbrokers, businessmen, acquaintances, friends, family, partners–all want an advantage and will look for or create excuses to cross the line of equality, move in and take over.

Am I bitter and cynical?  Yes.  I don’t like feeling this way, knowing it only hurts me to have this attitude.  Like it or not, I am a herald, of sorts, meaning I search restlessly for higher and more comfortable ground, especially mentally.  Those who would control will seek first to control the mind.

I can’t control my own mind, nor do I want to.  I like its free ranging ability and thrive on the little lessons obtained from every facet of my life.

How would I know about undoing if I did not live it, feel the emotions associated, know the practice from mythology and the term from psychiatry?

Unraveling a sweater – which I’ve already done once with this one because I didn’t like the stitch – brings many facets into play.

How would someone else handle it?  Who knows?  Most people would not attempt to knit a sweater at all, I suspect, and this is my contention with “most people.”

Nor will “most people” appreciate the value of the process as a means of showing how to solve problems, because this is my real purpose.  Rather than start over, I can adapt mid-sweater and potentially turn a mistake into a success.

SNAKES IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN

Monday, November 26, 2007 – I’ve retired my medical license to become a New Age Profit . . . er . . . Prophet, for the Spirit of Capitalism.

I cut my fangs on Telluride politics and other stories from the Serpents of the Modern Caduceus.  What if there were two serpents in the Garden of Eden, and they ran the interlopers out, better to rest in peace without getting trampled?  Then they can bask in the sun of the Garden, eating of their favorite fruit, the apples from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Now that Adam and Even have departed in search of something better, the wise snakes may rest assured the tree won’t be cut down to build a house, to hold squealing brats who like to torture snakes for fun.  Minimal risk of getting eaten for supper or skinned for belts and purses.  Why, now that God has expelled these demons from Heaven, the snakes are ecstatic.

Unfortunately, the Garden of Eden isn’t quite as lively as when the humans were around.  They provided entertainment, if only by making God mad.  We snakes can make God mad without even trying.  All we had to do was show him how dumb his latest invention was, and he threw them out and has been moping around ever since, feeling guilty about over-reacting.  Now, look at the mess man has made of his lives.

All we said was “Wise up.”  We didn’t say do it the hard way.  No.  That was Adam’s choice, to do it the hard way.

We snakes wise up the easy way.  When our skins get too small, we shed them and slither on out to greater dimensions of girth and wisdom.

Yes, snakes are hated and feared, because we are so smart.  We see life from the ground up, and we know where our support and strength lie.  Our raw intelligence knows its own turf and doesn’t seek to intrude on that of others.  Snakes don’t go looking for trouble, unless it’s entertaining trouble that enhances our wisdom and gets a potential threat redirected into other dimensions, like hell on earth.

Sermon on the Mound

CHURCH OF THE HOLIER THAN THOU, INCORPORATED

A for-profit religion where nothing is sacred, and human sacrifice is obligatory

 SERMON ON THE MOUND
Eve of 2007

The following sermon was delivered at a 2007 New Year’s Eve bonfire

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Dear Worried Souls:

Take Heart! the Worst is yet to come.  Witness this miserable mound of machine age offal.  Wasted resources compounded daily–advertising, packaging, junk mail, paperwork, broken equipment—a sorry heap of worthless Trash reviled by all.  The costs have become unbearable.

It does not live so cannot die.  We must dispose of it anyway, and we aim for the Sky.  We plead for help from the great Mother Earth and Father Sun. Open our senses to the stench of Burning Plastic.  Burn our Lungs with Particulates and Smoke. Singe our eyes with the Motes we scatter.  Spread sparks of Common Sense wherever Smog may go.

On this eve, the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated ignites this sacrificial pyre, in humble apology to the Planet we call Home.  As long as we can live and breathe on this speck of Cosmic Dust, we give Thanks for our Success and Vow to Make Sin Pay.

Thank you, Mother Earth, for deflating false profits and reducing their costs. Our debt to you is incalculable.

Thank you, Father Sun, for your clean nuclear power, the solar system’s eternal source of centralized energy output.

The Loving Lambs of Church of the Holier than Thou, Inc. have watched in Horror as the TechnoDemons befouled the Earth.  Their numbers numbed us.  Their profits (er . . . prophets) preached Winning by Losing, and promised Eternal Hell.  Machine Noise rocked the planet and rattled the Tectonic Plates.  We Bleated in Horror, Fear, and Rage, but there was Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.   We prayed for Peace and Quiet.

We sighed as they Drowned Porpoises, Paved Neighborhoods, Spilled Oil, Dumped Chemicals, Bulldozed Wildernesses, Polluted Oceans, Pipelined Tundra, Gobbled up Farms, Obscured the Stars, and Obliterated the Sounds of Birds and Breeze.  We cried for Mercy as Global Temperatures Rose, Tempers Flared, Ice Caps Melted, the Ozone layer dissipated, and Dynamite collapsed mountains and hills.  We watched Mutations and Health Problems Created for Profit and spreading like Cancer.  We searched in Vain for Recycling centers, Compost piles, and Locally produced goods.

This Mound of Refuse–papers, plastics, boxes, wraps, junk mail, bubbles, baubles and bills–represents countless Murdered Trees and Earthly Treasures that died for junk mail, propaganda, advertising, photo-ops, cellophane, and disposable containers.  Swallowed in the glut (er  . . . gut) of Human Consumption, these plundered assets Writhe in Pain.  Their pitiful Pleas reach us from Roadsides and Garbage cans, raising Taxes for waste removal.  “Stop this Plague upon our Souls,” they cry in tortured sobs.

We at the Church of the Holier than Though, Incorporated, know a Natural Solution when we see one.  We will find a way to uplift this junk into Something Useful, so we can Make Sin Pay.

Yes, the Savvy Saints of the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated have lit the solar flares, at last, but we are weary, wary of yet another trick, a Light too Bright to be Natural.  But Fear no longer.

The TechnoDemons’ Hot Stocks have Cooked their Geese.  The Gold weighs heavy in their Stomachs and Blocks their Bowels.  Take Pity, and sell them fresh Vegetables.

We at CHT, Inc. mean Business.  We will grow the Economy to Scale.  Green leaves and Roughage will prevail.  Put methane in cars, corn in stomachs, trans fats in wheel bearings, and soy in tofu.  Put the mercury back in thermometers and the lead back in batteries.  Shade roofs with solar panels. Generate energy from Landfill. Triple postage rates on junk mail. Clean the ditches with tax collectors. Hire prisoners instead of illegals.  Transform scrap metal to passenger trains.  Make synthetic hormones from oxidized plastic.  Sift sand for silicon.  Collect rain on roofs, or whatever it takes, to Make Sin Pay.

We Lobby you, great Mother Earth and Father Sun, to grant our request for Survival Skills Technology.  Light our way through the Sewers of Human Degradation, as we seek Natural Markets for these discarded Treasures.  We pray for a Healthy Return.

May Sparks from the Fire of this Pyre seed new Trees of Knowledge, wherever particulates drift.  Too cumbersome to be mulched, too poisoned to nourish, too diseased to be safe, this Trash has no Market Value, no place to Go but Up.

With a Match and a Blessing, the Church of the Holier than Thou, Incorporated–where nothing is sacred and human sacrifice is obligatory– sets this Sacrificial Offering ablaze.  We Pray this Fire will spread Sparks of Enlightenment wherever the Smoke may Blow, and dispel the Mind Pollution that hides the Bottom Line.

The CIG Hosts Body Parts

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The Cosmic Improv(e) Group
hosts BODY PARTS
of katharineotto.planetearth,
independent country of one

 by Katharine C. Otto
October, 2005
(Updated February, 2017)

Seth* validates my deepest beliefs.

The only reason for suffering is to learn how not to suffer, says he.  So, I flop on the couch and send healing energy to my painful, throbbing left foot, but I haven’t learned how not to suffer yet.

My foot and gut are having an argument, because the couch flop followed a gustatory fest that made my stomach hurt, too.

“I wouldn’t hurt so much if you didn’t weigh me down,” says Left Foot.

“I would eat less if we could walk,” Gut replies.

“Hey, guys,” says my Total Self, “We all have to live in this body, so can we find a way to get along?”

Then I fall asleep.

Then I wake up, limp to the kitchen, and eat some more.

The Cosmic Improv Group–that gaggle of nags inside my imagination and unheard by others–steps up to the plate.

They remind me I’ve had a busy, active week, have spread understanding far and wide, and have penetrated the local Shape Shifting Alien Reptiles’** lair at their eminent domain meeting.  Yes, I lanced that abscess, burst that bubble, and shriveled those egos.  My foot begins to hurt immediately after that.  My heel, actually.

Heels that they are.  Heal myself.  I decide the SSARs in local politics sent a thought bomb to cripple me, aiming for my Achilles heel.

“Sure, Kath,” says the CIG.  “As if they care enough to hurt you.”

“I didn’t think so, because I was okay with it.  Yes, I unsettled them, but they are used to boring each other to death.  My departure should have let them return to status quo.”

“You know it didn’t.”

“I didn’t know they could get to me this way.  Seth says trust your impulses.  I say fine with me, but not if my impulses cause me pain.”

“You underestimate your power,” they say.  “This is why you must up-level it.  Your pain shows you are not ready to release your passionate appeal.  It will assume a painful timbre, and this is not your intent.”

“You’re right.  I want to uplift and inspire.  My foot pain is associated with many (possibly imagined) lives, in which it manifested in different contexts—shackles, mine fields, frostbite, gangrene.  Bound feet as an Oriental woman.  It is symbolic of my fear of entrapment, limitation, and imprisonment.  Burned as a witch, too, feet first.  Burned again as a monk heretic in the Spanish Inquisition.”

I talk to my left foot and discover it feels “left” out, ignored, and unappreciated.  It reminds me I have lived many lifetimes (possibly) with dysfunctional or missing left feet, and lifetimes with “two left feet.”  I’ve been “left to heal or die.” An image of a wounded foot soldier in Stalin’s army during a cold Russian winter comes to mind.

“You are crazy,” says the CIG.  “Don’t tell anyone but us this, because they will lock you up.”

“Not for long, because the jails are too crowded.  They won’t put me in a psych hospital, either, because I refuse to have health care insurance. Ain’t that swell?”

“Crazy like a fox.”

“Lack of insurance keeps me safe from hospitalization.”

So I decide to make a concerted effort to bring the foot back into the fold, to appreciate that it is a perfectly good foot this lifetime, and its pain is karmic memory.  Up-level the memories, release the grudges and resentments, and the foot will heal.

Same with sacrum, which I believe is associated with my lower body stiffness and pain.  Here, the root chakra blocks qi in a defensive strike position.

The female body is a symbol for humanity’s greatest creativity, passion, and fear.  I hated that my body was female, because I believed it disappointed my parents.  Both parents misunderstood and were unreasonably afraid of feminine power, but so is the world.  We have few role models for fully creative feminine expression.

My physical body is my greatest asset, on this material plane.  It is my science lab, an instrument of pleasure and pain.

If, as Seth says, groups of people reincarnate together, everyone on the planet shares past and future memories. Puritan Salem comes to mind, and Cotton Mather, when I think about the eminent domain meeting.  I was a witch or prostitute, or perceived that way.  Perhaps I was just too independent to be tolerable.  Either way, my contempt for them made a victim of me.

I want to play it smarter, this go-round, and the foot pain reminds me not to move too quickly.  I am more out of phase with the environment than I know, and it hurts me first if I try to try to force it.  I want to be a catalyst for change, a destroyer of limiting beliefs and outdated systems.  At the same time, people have to be ready to change, or you set them up to fail, and they become more afraid than before.

On October 4, weight is up to 143.5 pounds.  Ibuprofen, 200 mg came to my foot’s rescue sometime between five and seven a.m.  I’d taken it at 3 a.m., too, in obeisance to Western medicine, which does some things right.  Just took another one.

I just poured my third cup of coffee, complete this time with real half-and-half and brown sugar.   “No, no,” shouts the CIG’s Should/Shouldn’t Chorus.

“You should only have two cups of coffee in the mornings.  You shouldn’t put sugar or real half-and-half in them.  You weigh 143.5 pounds, remember, when you used to weigh 123.  Disgusting.

“And you know coffee raises your blood pressure, which is borderline high, already.  Remember your bleeding disorder?  You are setting yourself up for a stroke or a heart attack, like the one that killed your father, or pulmonary embolisms, like the ones that killed Rhea, your mother.  Dump a third cup of coffee in that mix, and we can’t be responsible for what happens to you.”

I take a sip of coffee and contemplate their suffering.  I have heard this song before and have learned my stomach will tell me when to stop.

“143.5 #,” say the devils.

“That’s only 65 kilos, another excellent reason to convert to the metric system,” I reply.

“Your stomach has its own agenda.  It wants to hoard fat fuel in the Greater Omentum.”

“Are you saying my stomach is an energy hog?”

“Just look in the mirror at the facts.”

“The coffee doesn’t taste that great, anyway, but it gives me an excuse to sit.”

“So do I,” says Left Foot.

“Indeed you do,” I reply.  “and I’m practicing taking better care of you.  I took 400 mg of ibuprofen this morning, because the pain was so bad last night that I thought something was broken.

“Drink less coffee,” it says.  “The caffeine causes vasoconstriction in your extremities and starves me of oxygen.”

“Thanks.  I suppose you’re going to tell me to lose weight, too.”

“It would sure take a load off me.”

“Fat cells have rights, too,” my Greater Omentum chimes in.  “We’re just doing our job.”

“How’s about shipping some fat to the bottom of my feet,” I say, “to add some padding on my heel and some lubrication in my leg joints?”

“We’ll vote for that,” say the feet.

“Us, too,” say all the lower joints.

“How much will you pay for my largesse?” asks the GO.

My other body parts and I consult with each other.  We don’t have a ready answer.

I speak first.  “I’m about ready to invite a stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary embolism, preferably three all together, so they take me out completely.  That would cure the foot pain.  But please, please, please don’t cast me on the health care system,” I beg.  I take a sip of coffee.

“Remember how hospital coffee tastes?” Fukyoo asks.  “It’s gotten worse.”  Everyone except me laughs.

I dump the last little bit of coffee that was doctored the way my taste buds like it.

“Thank you,” says Left Foot.

“At least you fed me some peanut butter and wheat wafers,” says the Greater Omentum.

“I want you to share that,” I tell the GO.  “And not with the Lesser Omentum, either.  Send that fat downstream to my legs and feet, where it can do some good.

“Oh, all right,” moans the GO.

“Make him dance, too, lying on the floor, so we don’t have to carry him,” say my lower body parts.

“That’s called sex,” I reply.

“Whatever,” say the feet.  “Make him have sex, then.”

“Other body parts may have something to say about that.  Vagina?”

“No way, Jose.  Don’t inflict any barbarians on me.”

“Well, I haven’t found anything else.  I respect your right to opt out, since you’re not overweight.  You don’t need to dance.”

The Should/Shouldn’t Chorus is grudgingly relieved I sacrificed the last of my coffee.  One looks at a watch.

“Well, she hasn’t gone overboard in her caffeine addiction yet, but it’s just a matter of time.”

“Sad, isn’t it?” says another.  “Tomorrow it’ll probably be five cups, then six, and the next thing you know, she’ll be in ICU with a Broca’s area stroke, unable to speak or communicate in any way, but understanding everything around her.”

“Not so different from the way things are now, if you ask me, only my living room isn’t as noisy or expensive as the hospital.”  I say.

“We didn’t ask you.”

“Nope.  Proves my point.  You just tell me, don’t you, then prophesy dire consequences if I put sugar in my coffee.”

“Want to step on the scales and say that again?”

“Nope.”

“At least you didn’t stuff yourself with peanut butter on salty wheat wafers, this time.”

“Right,” says Right Foot, which has been doing double duty since the left went out on disability.  Both benefit from the rest, I figure.

“I like walking,” says Right Foot.

“Well, you two need to get together and discuss your relationship,” I tell them.  I put my soles together so left and right feet can bond.  Toes of right touching heel of left, cold toes to hot heel.  “We can start by evening out the temperature gradient.”

Yes, my feet are connecting on a sole level.  They both feel good about it.
*Seth is the channeled entity of the Jane Roberts’ Seth series.
**The concept of Shape Shifting Alien Reptiles (SSARs) comes from David Icke’s Tales from the Time Loop, 2003.

GOD HELPS EVE BAKE APPLE PIE

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My back yard, Chatham County, Georgia.  Fig tree in winter.  Foggy day.  Live oak background.  Sago palm lower left.  Windmill palms lower center and right. Spanish moss on live oak, Georgia’s state tree. kco122716

From my journal, ten years ago today,Wednesday, December 27, 2006
(Why every would-be communicator should vent on paper)

            God:  I sure would love a piece of apple pie along about now.

            Eve:  What’s apple pie?

God:  Boy, are you dumb.  Apple pie is what you do if you want to earn your keep in the Garden of Eden.  This place requires upkeep, or haven’t you noticed?

Eve:  Okay.  I’m game.  Tell me what to do, and I’ll try to do it.

God:  Attagirl.  Now, go pick a bunch of apples.

Eve:  Oh, no you don’t.  I’m not falling for that trick again.  Picking those apples got Adam and me in a heap of trouble, remember?

God:  That was because I told you not to pick the apples.  Now, I’m telling you to pick some apples.  Times have changed.  Trust me.  I know what I’m doing.

Eve:  Well, OK, if you say so.

Eve picks some apples and follows directions for making apple pie.  First, she has to invent knives, baking pans, flour, sugar, an oven, and the other tools of apple pie construction. God looks on, giving helpful advice.  Adam has invented television and is busy watching sports.

Eve:  What spices should I use?

God cogitates.   God:  I like sage.

Eve:  OK.  Which one of these plants is sage?

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*

God:  It’s over there.  No, not there.  Over there.  Another step.  OK. Now lean over. Now touch it.  No! Not that one.  That’s the poison ivy.

Eve:  What’s poison ivy?

God:  You’ll see.  Just don’t scratch your hand.

Eve starts to itch.  She tries not to scratch.  The itch gets worse.

Eve:  Why not?

God:  Just don’t.

Eve:  I thought I was supposed to have free will.

God:  Fine.  Disobey me and see what happens.

Eve:  Got a better idea?

God:  Wash it off.

Eve:  With what?

God:  Soap.  Calamine lotion.

Eve:  What are they?

God:  You have to invent them.

Eve:  But my hand is itching now.
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*Sage, a perennial, by itself and with other herbs, here  monitored by the Squire-wire, aka S. Squire Rooster, Attorney for the Law of the Land .  Herbs pictured here, clockwise from lower left:  chives (perennial), sage, parsley (biennial), basil and purple basil (annual). Stevia, a perennial, is on edge of deck, flanked by milo plants (look like corn), grown wild from spilled chicken food.  Chickens love the green milo seeds.  Stevia, the natural sweetener now approved by the FDA for inclusion in soft drinks like Coca-cola and Pepsi, is easy easy easy to grow.  I combine stevia with chocolate mint and dry them together for great winter tea.  In the summer they make delicious iced tea, with no calories or caffeine.  kco122716

 

The Police State Board Game

bumpcountry2016I wrote the following political satire piece for my “Adventures in Living in the World as It Is” series in December, 2009.

THE POLICE STATE BOARD GAME
GoverCorp vs. You

In this game, players vie with THE POLICE STATE to get around the board with a minimum of hassle.  They win by overcoming barricades, set-backs, barbed wire, traps, concrete mazes, and other obstacles, to arrive at the point where they began.  Each player meets different challenges.

Tourists, travelers—and anyone who visits an airportmust negotiate airport security.  Cop an attitude and miss your plane. (Go back five spaces.)

Travelers, you can win this round.  If security drones mess with you, demand their names and write them down. (Skip three spaces.)  Do this loudly.  (Skip ten spaces.)  If you can get them to write their own names, skip ten spaces and win an extra turn.  If you miss your plane, call the media and yell into the phone at the airport until they find you another flight.  (Take an extra turn.)

Federal security personnel only have jobs because they failed reading, writing, and arithmetic in elementary school.  They’d probably be in jail if they weren’t paid by the police state  to fleece you.

The doctor and all health care providers with licensed signatures must file Medicare, Medicaid, and third-party payer claims; document everything done and not done; be there for everyone’s crises; listen to everyone’s complaints; manage their illnesses; and, when time allows, save their lives.

Doctors win by avoiding insurance hassles. “Oh, you’re having a heart attack?  Call Dr. Obama.  He’ll call me if your policy covers heart attacks. Oh, he doesn’t answer the phone at night?  You should have bought a better government.”  Then hang up and go back to sleep.

If you really have killed a patient, lose five turns and reapply for your license, if you decide it’s worth it.  If you decide to retire, get five extra turns.  If it’s a nuisance malpractice suit, go back five spaces.  You can go to jail instead of settling and skip ten spaces in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers have to maintain control in the classroom without using discipline.  Even a yell is emotional abuse in THE POLICE STATE.

Teachers win by doing what they must.  Do not attract attention from THE POLICE STATE. Ignore it as much as possible, unless it is in your face making unreasonable demands, or if you’ve hit a child.  (Go back ten spaces.)  How hard? (If s/he is bruised, go back five more spaces.)  If there are major injuries, go back to the beginning and choose a different profession.

If you can teach the school board something about education, skip five spaces and get three extra turns. If kids enjoy school, the probability of your wanting to hit them, principals, school board members, parents, congressmen, or presidents plummets.

Developers, contractors, and builders must negotiate forests of permits, licenses, fees, city and county parents, planning boards, and the bureaucratic jungle before you can build.  Bribes and favors are the easiest way to do business in THE POLICE STATE.

Builders win by doing the job right.  (Lose five turns for each collapsed building.  If anyone was hurt or killed, start over and apply for a government job.)  Go back five spaces for every problem from shoddy construction.  Win by remembering pipes break on holidays.  You’ll sleep easier and won’t have to schmooze as many politicians in THE POLICE STATE.

Joe Blow, angry women, hot chicks, impotent men, red-necks, teenagers, bruthas—and everyone with with an attitude and a steering wheel—must negotiate traffic, congestion, stop lights, road safety hazards, other bad drivers, suicidal pedestrians, errant pets, parking problems, car trouble, passenger distractions, and other demands that have nothing to do with driving. Impatience attracts everything from fender-benders to fatal accidents, and of course, traffic tickets. Go back five spaces for slugging a policeman, even if he deserved it.

Tips for success: About that traffic violation:  Did anybody die?  Better show up in court. (Lose five turns.)  Anybody hurt?  Be there. (Go back ten spaces.) Anybody’s car damaged? Ditto. (Go back five spaces.) No damage to anyone or anything?  OK.  Just pay the fine, but you have a record now.  Watch your step, because every forward move counts against you in:

THE POLICE STATE